School safety advocate Andrew Pollack, who lost his daughter in the Parkland, Florida shooting, pleaded with parents to take matters into their own hands in light of the Nashville school shooting, which claimed the lives of three adults and three children on Monday.
"A lot of these shootings, even the one that [just] took place, was avoidable in my eyes," Pollack, whose daughter Meadow and 16 others were killed when a gunman opened fire at her school in Parkland in 2018, told Fox News on Tuesday.
"What we’re failing to note here is that parents need to wake up and demand that they have programs in place in their school like the Guardian Program in Florida. where there’s training for teachers, training for veterans, training for individuals that could work at these schools and be able to carry in the school," he continued. "We need to have officers in the schools, and you need to have plainclothes guards in the schools for instances like this."
Monday's shooting at the Covenant School, a Christian grade school, left three students and three adults dead, including the head of the school and the shooter was killed by police, authorities said. Nashville police say officers engaged with and killed the shooter, identified as a 28-year-old Audrey Elizabeth Hale, a former student and Nashville resident who identified as a transgender woman. Nashville police Chief John Drake said Hale, who suffered from serious mental health issues which required medical intervention, legally purchased the firearms used in the attack behind the family's back.
Pollack, chief public safety officer of Byrna Technologies, blamed a discrepancy in the system for allowing Hale and others with documented mental health concerns to obtain a firearm despite current laws in place that preclude them from such purchases.
"That’s one of the biggest problems in the country," Pollack told "Your World" host Neil Cavuto." A lot of these shooters are under mental health care. There are laws in place to prevent these mentally ill from obtaining rifles or firearms. But they’re not implemented. A lot of times people make threats. They want to kill, they want to rape like my daughter’s shooter. They’re never brought in front of a judge where it goes on their background [record]. Background checks are only if people are arrested for making threats. This individual…was under mental health care and never brought to the attention of any authorities<"
Pollack praised Florida Republicans, specifically former-Gov. Rick Scott, for implementing positive changes as a result of a commission launched in the state to investigate policy failures stemming from his daughter's tragedy and urged other state governments to follow suit.
"Rick Scott, he didn’t just want to blame a rifle. He wanted to know all the facts of what led up to that shooting from the shooter’s time in the nursery all the way up to high school. So he looked into the facts. He put a commission together of law enforcement, parents, lawyers, mental health workers and they came up with solutions, real solutions," he said.
"In Florida now, because of this commission,we have police officers in every school," Pollack continued. "We have perimeter fencing. We have single points of entry with doors that you can’t just walk in or throw a rock through it like what happened in this situation."
Pollack said instead of demanding tighter gun laws as President Biden did in response to the shooting, leaders need to examine "the facts" while allocating proper funding to increase security in schools.
"I don’t want to hear that we don’t have the funds. We had $200 billion to give Ukraine, and I hear schools complaining that they don’t have the funding to put fencing in," Pollack said. "They don’t have the funding for police officers. They don’t have the funding for single points of entry. For me, that is unacceptable."
He reiterated that it's "all up to the parents" to ensure schools have sufficient safety measures in place and are implementing positive changes as a result of the Nashville shooting.
"Parents need to get involved locally, They have so much power…go to the schools, demand that they take security to the utmost level, demand that there’s SRO's [school resource officers] or training in place for people that work in the school, so they're able to carry firearms…single point of entry, fencing," he urged.
Asked to share a message for Nashville's grief-stricken community and families of the six murdered victims, Pollack said that from his personal experience, "There’s nothing that I can tell them that will make them feel better."
"It’s brutal…just you asking me the question gives me goosebumps throughout my body," he said. "Time doesn’t heal when you have a child that was murdered. It takes a piece of your heart and buries it. You’re never the same person. I can’t give them any words of encouragement that will make them feel better. Their lives will be changed forever. What I do, I try to focus on things that can be helpful. I try and support law enforcement. I work with them to give them the tools to better respond to a shooting…but does it help? It helps me a little bit," Pollack added, "but my heart broken forever. I'll never be the same."